The highest paid actor last year was Adam Sandler followed by Margot Robbie

Did y’all know that Adam Sandler made four film projects and did a tour last year? Forbes has released their annual list of highest paid actors and in 2023, Adam Sandler was the highest paid. I must be hanging out in the wrong entertainment crowds because honestly, I had no idea he did anything other than Murder Mystery 2, lol. According to Forbes, Adam made $73 million last year, thanks to his comedy tour, MM2, action-comedy The Out-Laws, comedy You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah, and voice and production work on Netflix’s Leo. The last time Sandler was named Forbes’ highest earning actor was way back in 2002, but he’s appeared in the top ten list several times since then.

Adam Sandler’s four film projects of 2023 propelled him to an annual salary of $73m (£57m), making him the highest-paid performer in Hollywood, according to Forbes magazine. The standup turned actor also embarked on a comedy tour, which supplemented earnings from starring and producing in Netflix’s Murder Mystery 2, as well as his writing, producing and voice work on Leo, the streamer’s popular animation.

Sandler was also involved with little-seen action comedy The Out-Laws, and produced and starred – alongside his wife and daughters – in acclaimed comedy You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah. The actor last topped the list in 2002, when he made $47m (£37m) starring in the likes of Mr Deeds and Punch-Drunk Love.

In second place was Margot Robbie, who at 33 is also the youngest actor on the list by a decade. The massive global success of Barbie, which she co-produced, is largely responsible for the estimated $59m (£46m) Robbie earned in 2023.

Despite the latest Mission: Impossible movie performing below par at the box office, in part on account of being released a few weeks before Barbenheimer, profits from that film, plus streaming residues from 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick, meant Tom Cruise was third on the list, with $45m (£35m).

Robbie’s Barbie co-star, Ryan Gosling, was joint fourth, alongside Oppenheimer’s Matt Damon; both men earned $43m (£34m). Meanwhile, Ben Affleck, Damon’s co-star – and director – on Air, the Nike sports film released early last year, was ninth, with $38m (£30m).

Sandler’s Murder Mystery co-star Jennifer Aniston came in sixth on the list with $42m (£33m). One of only two women in the Top 10, Aniston has only starred in two films in the past five years – Murder Mystery and its sequel – but her earnings were presumably much supplemented by Friends residuals (Forbes does not include money earned through advertising and sponsorship deals).

Killers of the Flower Moon star Leonardo DiCaprio made $41m (£32m), placing him joint seventh with Jason Statham, the only English actor on the list. Statham starred in four 2023 releases: Fast X, Meg 2: The Trench, Expend4bles and Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre.

In 10th place was Denzel Washington, who made $24m (£19m) and featured in the third Equalizer film. At 69, he is the oldest, and the only Black actor on the list.

Forbes reports that it calculates its estimates through interviews with agents and industry experts, as well as crunching data from the likes of IMDbPro. The business magazine said its figures represent taxed earnings for the calendar year 2023, and only include income related to entertainment. In 2022, Tyler Perry topped the Forbes list, while Dwayne Johnson did so for the three previous consecutive years.

[From The Guardian]

While Sandler topping the list took me by surprise, none of the other names really did except for Aniston, but as they pointed out, those Friends residuals must be quite nice. I do think it’s kinda interesting that both Tyler Perry and Dwayne Johnson completely fell off the top 10 list this year. I would have at least expected Perry to be up there, but I just looked it up and he didn’t have any new acting projects in 2023.

If you’re like me and need to see things in list form, here’s what the top ten looks:

Adam Sandler ($73 million)
Margot Robbie ($59 million)
Tom Cruise ($45 million)
Ryan Gosling ($43 million)
Matt Damon ($43 million)
Jennifer Aniston ($42 million)
Leonardo DiCaprio ($41 million)
Jason Statham ($41 million)
Ben Affleck ($38 million)
Denzel Washington ($24 million)

I don’t think I need to point out that seven out of the top ten actors were white men, and most are white men that generally appear in some spot on that list year after year. As always, when you compare the highest paid men vs. women, the women’s numbers are much less. I cannot say enough how much I want to see a Barbie bump next year in terms of investment in films created by and starring women and POC. Gosh, that would be so satisfying.

Photos credit: Scott Yamano/Netflix, Getty Images for Netflix, IMAGO/Steve Vas / Avalon

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12 Responses to “The highest paid actor last year was Adam Sandler followed by Margot Robbie”

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  1. Pinkosaurus says:

    I think Adam Sandler is a solid dramatic actor but clearly idiot buffoonery pays much better. I’m in support of this to the extent it crowds out toxic MAGA jerks like Tim Allen.

    • It Really Is You, Not Me says:

      Leo was amazing and it was very woke in terms of the troubles the different kids were going through and the film’s approach to those issues. My k8ds cried it was so heartwarming. So I am glad that, if a white man had to top the list AGAIN, at least it was Adam Sandler instead of a MAGA jerk as you said.

      I don’t believe Margot Robbie was on this list last year? Happy for the progress that a woman made the list for a groundbreaking woman-centered role. There is still so much room for improvement though.

  2. Kimmy says:

    That amount of $$ is just mind boggling, especially year after year.

    What else did leo do last year?

  3. og bella says:

    Jenn Aniston gets around $2 mill per episode of The Morning Show so that’s 20 million right there

    • bananapanda says:

      I think people forget about Morning Show. I heard they used to make $10mn+ on Friends reruns but don’t know if it’s same from Netflix.

      Baby Goose must have gotten Barbie points bc he only did Barbie and the upcoming Fall Guy this year.

  4. Concern Fae says:

    Honestly, I don’t think they should be adding the comedy tour on there. Should Harry Styles have been on the list the year he was on tour and had some film roles? It’s just a totally different income stream that scales in ways that are unconnected from the way Hollywood pays stars.

  5. io says:

    why is Margot’s age listed but the others are not? seems rather odd.

  6. Chaine says:

    I just feel so out of touch now as I did thirty years ago because for the life of me i do not understand how this man is supposed to be funny or how he makes so much money with his supposed comedy. anything i have ever watched of his, including when he was on SNL, he was just overly self-aware and annoying.

    • Kate says:

      Agree, I find him to be completely unwatchable, with the exception of the Leo movie which I thought was cute.

  7. Mario says:

    One thing I’m always reminded of is how 40% goes to agent, manager, and lawyer right off the top. Of course, taxes in the 20% range, and then they keep what’s left.

    Still more than I’ll make over decades, but man it pays a LOT to be fame adjacent. The hours and work required are much less, but when they pay off, they pay off.

  8. Mee says:

    Just here to point out that while the Friends cast is living well off their residuals, black actors don’t get a dime from residuals on black shows. As Monique said on Shannon’s podcast, she and the cast of The Parkers, have not received a dime from the studio in residuals, even though that show has been in syndication for 20+ years. The studio claims the show hasn’t made them money….just lies. Happy for Margot Robbie though. I hope as more white women get on the list, they ensure actresses of color get their money too. Taraji crying about being underpaid should bring shame to white male executives. I know they don’t care, and mistreating black women is a sport in HW. I’m just being hopeful.

  9. gbc says:

    TAX THE RICH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!